A useful presentation of the "two tribes" comes via ATTP's twit; the "where is the NAS report on nationalizing and rapidly shutting down the fossil fuel industry?" side (which I think is fuckwitted, obvs) is by Kevin Surprise; you can sense him salivating at the idea of "a massive, punitive-level wealth tax". By contrast, Matthias Honegger who - apart from talking to idiots - appears quite sane, represents the "we won't be able to meaningfully engage on questions of desirability unless there is meaningful research" side.
My own view is that while SRM has dangers, running screaming from it with drivel about "SG at best bolsters status-quo, at worst would further concentrate power" is wrongthink. In trying to "solve" GW we're trying to, errm, solve global warming; we're not trying For Great Justice and to use it as leverage for the revolt of the proles and a return to earthly paradise; though that is what some people (hello, Kevin!) are trying to use it for.
And the reply to "it comes with great potential harm" is "well, then it would be a good idea to do some research on it then". The reply to "but that might come with 'moral hazard' - people might stop trying to reduce CO2" is "calm down". A tiny (by comparison with other things) bit o' research isn't going to do harm.
This has shades of "experts will lie to you sometimes" (notice the ATTP, badly IMO, twits that without indicating any opinion); but the underlying piece by Noah Smith is bad. And it seems to me it's the way that some "expert" opinion is headed on SRM: you poor proles can't cope with complexity so let's just run away from it".
I should perhaps point out that I haven't actually read the NAs report. But here's the summary: Reflecting Sunlight: Recommendations for Solar Geoengineering Research and Research Governance Climate change is creating impacts that are widespread and severe for individuals, communities, economies, and ecosystems around the world. While efforts to reduce emissions and adapt to climate impacts are the first line of defense, researchers are exploring other options to reduce warming. Solar geoengineering strategies are designed to cool Earth either by adding small reflective particles to the upper atmosphere, by increasing reflective cloud cover in the lower atmosphere, or by thinning high-altitude clouds that can absorb heat. While such strategies have the potential to reduce global temperatures, they could also introduce an array of unknown or negative consequences. This report concludes that a strategic investment in research is needed to enhance policymakers' understanding of climate response options. The United States should develop a transdisciplinary research program, in collaboration with other nations, to advance understanding of solar geoengineering's technical feasibility and effectiveness, possible impacts on society and the environment, and social dimensions such as public perceptions, political and economic dynamics, and ethical and equity considerations. The program should operate under robust research governance that includes such elements as a research code of conduct, a public registry for research, permitting systems for outdoor experiments, guidance on intellectual property, and inclusive public and stakeholder engagement processes.
Update: 20 reasons why geoengineering may be a bad idea?
By Alan Robock via Aaron Thierry. TL;DR: not convincing; more of a hand-waving "there are issues" than any attempt to address them in any depth; and I'm doubtful he is being honest (or, if you prefer, impartial); see #8.
Let's look: 1. Effects on regional climate: true but GQ will also have effects on regional climate. 2. Continued ocean acidification: probably the best one. 3. Ozone depletion: potentially an issue; he provides zero detail, which is odd; if there is no detail, crying out for more research; 4. Effects on plants: again, research; 5. More acid deposition: doubtful, I think, as the effects would be small; he makes zero attempt to quantify it. 8. Less sun for solar power. Scientists estimate that as little as a 1.8 percent reduction in incoming solar radiation would compensate for a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Errm, but we're not suggesting nearly so much compensation. So, less than 1% effect on solar power in exchange for ~50% compensation? That would be a pretty good deal, not that you'd guess it from his words. 9. Environmental impacts of implementation. Any system that could inject aerosols into the stratosphere... would cause enormous environmental damage. Silly, I think. 10. Rapid warming if deployment stops: true, as I noted. 11. There’s no going back: untrue, I think. 13. Undermining emissions mitigation: not I think a valid argument against doing the research. 15. Commercial control of technology: meh. 16. Military use of the technology: ditto. And so on, to the usual hand-wringing.
Note I've skipped a couple that were dull, IMO. His #13: Undermining emissions mitigation. If humans perceive an easy technological fix to global warming that allows for “business as usual,” gathering
the national (particularly in the United States and China) and international will to change consumption patterns and energy infrastructure will be even more difficult.18 This is the oldest and most persistent argument against geoengineering is what I'm criticising: he doesn't want SRM to work, because he wants emissions reduction for its own sake - for changing lifestyles - and something else that would solve GW would be bad, for him, because his primary aim isn't solving GW. That, obviously, is a permissible idea, as long as you're open about it: but he isn't.
* US urged to invest in sun-dimming studies as climate warms: National academies report is most explicit call yet for a government research programme to explore the controversial field of solar geoengineering - Nurture.
* Possibly an unpopular opinion here, but I'm uneasy about some of the proposed research. Given the issues are far more related to the (im)possibility of sustainable governance, accelerated research into the physical science could lead to over-confidence about deployment says Big Gav.
* Some not-very-interesting speculation from the Economist: Reaching for the sunshade: July 2030